Bipolar Disorder Mood Swings: Things to Expect

Bipolar disorder mood swings or bipolar affective disorder is a psychological condition that affects over 5 million people in the United States.

The condition can start at an early age although most people show the signs and symptoms when they reach their 20s. It’s vital to know the concurrent effects of the disease to properly cope and get treated. Bipolar disorder mood swings are actually curable and many individuals overcome the problem to live healthy, normal and stable lives. Here are information that will help you familiarize.

Introduction to Bipolar Disorder Mood Swings

Bipolar disorder mood swings used to be called manic-depressive disorder. As the name implies, there are two emotional or mood poles that people shift between during cycles. The first pole is the manic state wherein the person feels elated and euphoric. The second or opposite pole is the depressive state wherein the person feels down and extremely sad.

Each cycle will be comprised of the shift between these two poles and lasts anywhere from a few weeks up to several months. As the person grows older, the cycles will be shorter. The elevated mood is referred to as mania. The level of mania will also differ among individuals there is the state of hypomania which is milder.

People who are categorized as manic will display feelings of extreme pleasure, delight, elation and creativity. The depressed state or depression will also vary in terms of severity. During this time, patients will feel hopeless, worthless and despair.

In between the two poles, there are normal mood periods. There are times when bipolar disorder mood swings happen in very rapid or short cycles. Other signs and symptoms can follow like hallucinations, delusions and suicidal tendencies. There are different types of bipolar disorder mood swings like bipolar I, bipolar II and cyclothymia. Majority of patients will display the symptoms during late adolescence, between 20 and 25 years old. The problem may have already been present at a young age although manifestations were only visible at a later age.

Factors That Contribute to Bipolar Disorder Mood Swings

Many experts agree that genetics play a huge role in the development of bipolar disorder mood swings. Parents can pass on the genes to their children, thereby affecting the way the brain releases neurotransmitters that are responsible for mood and feelings. When neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine are low, the person will exhibit depressed or sad feelings.

When these are high, the person will feel elated and hyperactive. Psychologists also agree that environmental factors play a major role in the development of the condition.

Children who are exposed to extreme mood states or who have experienced extreme feelings of depression at such a young age can trigger the condition. Drugs and psychotherapy also seem to contribute to the occurrence of the condition. Drugs that impair or change the way the brain releases neurotransmitters can generally affect the person’s ability to function properly.

The presence of other psychological conditions can also affect or cause bipolar disorder mood swings. The characteristics and manifestations can change among affected individuals so doctors and psychiatrists have to carefully diagnose the patient to determine and rule out other possible mental problems like schizophrenia or clinical depression.

More Possible Causes of Bipolar Disorder Mood Swings

People normally exhibit feelings of elation or depression so proper diagnosis is necessary to point out the true existence of bipolar disorder mood swings. There are several other reasons why people can develop the problem. In other cases, symptoms can be indicative of other problems. Doctors will consider all of these until they come to the right conclusion.

Included in the list are head trauma, bleeding in the brain, blood clot in the brain, thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, brain tumor, systemic lupus erythematosus, autoimmune disorders, epilepsy, AIDS, neurosyphilis, sodium imbalance, diabetes mellitus, ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anorexia nervosa, drug abuse, intake of certain medications, panic disorder, bulimia disorder, PTSD or posttraumatic stress disorder, social phobia, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, delusional disorder.

Medications for Bipolar Disorder Mood Swings

Doctors usually recommend a number of drugs to help manage bipolar disorder mood swings symptoms as well as improve the way the brain releases neurotransmitters to restore balance. Mood stabilizers are useful and are taken even when the person is between the manic and depressive states. Lithium is one of the most common medications for the condition.

Other drugs that are recommended include carbamazepine, quetiapine, lamotrigine, valproic acid and anti-seizure drugs. Risperidone and olanzapine are also given to treat psychosis. Every medication has its own set of side effects. Individuals should be vigilant in reporting any adverse symptom to their doctor. Antidepressant drugs should also be taken with a mood-stabilizer during the depression state. The physician should be informed of other current drugs you’re taking, including herbs and supplements.

Coping with Bipolar Disorder Mood Swings

Medications will not get rid of all the symptoms or will improve the condition of the patient quickly. It’s important to use other therapies and approaches as well. Educate the patient about the effects of bipolar disorder mood swings then find more ways to cope with the effects.

Many individuals actually get over the problem for life. Counseling and guidance programs are very helpful to let the patient voice out his concerns and feelings about the condition. People should also be careful about the possible dangers and risks posed to patients. Prepare the home to make it a safe environment for the affected individual.

Psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy, occupational therapy and visualization techniques are all effective in guiding patients with bipolar disorder mood swings. These approaches will help individuals improve in the way they see their condition and will encourage them to improve in the different skills required to live normal and stable lives.

People can still build relationships, stay out of danger and avoid the risks. It’s important to surround the person with family and friends to improve his perception on society. He can build healthy and long lasting relationships and even start a family of his own. The effects of bipolar disorder mood swings can become very mild or completely absent with the proper interventions.